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When pushed Smith fights back

Rookie defenseman earned his second career fighting major

Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 9:11 PM ET / Recap
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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When pushed Smith fights back

Brendan Smith
Defense - DET
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 22 | +/-: 5
DETROIT – The third time was enough for Brendan Smith.

The Red Wings’ rookie defenseman missed 11 games this season following a hard hit by eight-year center Derek MacKenzie. But Smith wasn’t about to turn the other cheek on Sunday afternoon when the Columbus center tried to deliver a high hit behind the Red Wings’ net early in the third period.

“Sometimes he’s just running around a bit, so I tried to do a good job of protecting myself,” Smith said. “There’s a line, and he crossed it, so that’s when I got frustrated.”

Smith chased MacKenzie to the blue line before the two dropped their gloves. Smith was the aggressor and obviously upset as he landed several punches. It was Smith’s second career fighting major. He fought Chicago’s Andrew Shaw last season.

While Smith said there’s no real history with MacKenzie, where was a questionable incident back on Jan. 21 when the Blue Jackets’ center sent the rookie into the end boards.

“I actually got hit from behind by him in our first game in Columbus,” Smith recalled. “Second game of the year I got hit from behind our net.”

There was nothing dirty about MacKenzie’s hit that sprained Smith’s right shoulder on Feb. 2. But clearly, Smith was seeking a little pay back when he recognized that it was MacKenzie, who came in high in Sunday’s game.

“I knew before he came to hit me, and then he kind of got his hands up,” Smith said. “He came in and he was kind of running his mouth and stuff, and whatever. I didn’t like it anymore so it was pretty mutual.”

Asked if he thought MacKenzie has targeted him this season, Smith said, “Probably not. It’s just situational, but I definitely got hit from behind and went face-first into the glass” on Jan. 21.

Smith is known more as a quality puck-mover with incredible offensive upside than he is for his fists. But he said Sunday if he’s pushed, he’ll push back.

“I won’t shy away from it but I never look for it,” said Smith, who had 11 bouts in three seasons with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. “I want to play. I want to be a player and contribute. I feel that this year has been a little tough for me to contribute. Obviously right now you see my points. It’s a little frustrating that the puck won’t go in the back of the net. But I won’t shy away from it and if somebody tries to jump me, I’ll answer the bell.”

The Red Wings finished their five-game season series against the Blue Jackets on Sunday, with Columbus earning a 3-2 shootout victory.

For whatever reason, the Jackets have been a thorn for the Red Wings in winning their first season-series against the Original Six club in their 12-year franchise history, posting a 4-0-1 record. The Wings’ lone win came in a shootout at Columbus on Jan. 21.

On Sunday, the Red Wings committed 16 giveaways, which led to several Jackets’ scoring chances.

“I think a lot of our passes weren’t tape-to-tape,” Smith said. “If you’re not connecting passes and it’s just giveaways then obviously they’re going to dump and chase. That’s their game. (They) get in and muck it down low and play hard, and try to jam it to the net. If we’re connecting we have possession of the puck and they can’t do that.”

THREE STARS: 3, Jack Johnson, CBJ (29:51 TOI); 2, Pavel Datsyuk, DET (1 assist); 1, R.J. Umberger, CBJ (1 goal).

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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